There’s something incredibly humbling about having a spiritual/emotional breakdown in the middle of church. Because we do this thing at church, even the best of us sometimes. We put on our Sunday best and give our Sunday best and that’s that. Today I went to church dressed up, with new hair and high heels and my make-up all done and generally feeling pretty good about myself and life.
I left that same church service absolutely broken, carrying my heels in my right hand with my make-up streaming down my face and silky white shirt in a mess of tears and humanity. I think this happens because when we start feeling divine, God likes to remind us that we’re human.
Rustin talked a lot today about negative space. About how God does His best work in empty space, when we’re willing to clear out all the clutter and unnecessary activity and just let Him move around and do His thing. And yet, it seems like the unspoken goal of life, both of our culture and my life personally, is to cram in as much as possible. And any space that’s leftover at the end of the day is mine; my space to be indulged and entertained and [if I were to be completely honest] selfish.
Where is the negative space in my life? What am I doing with it? First of all, is there really any there? Am I creating negative space in my life for the purpose of bringing Heaven to Earth, or am I filling up any potential negative space with myself? Because I”m learning that, for myself, that’s the case more often than not. The empty, open space in my life is filled up with me, me, and me.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s wrong to take time for yourself to relax. But when every unchecked spare moment in our lives is given over to making ourselves happy…I think we start to find that it’s never enough. It snowballs and I need more and more and more and more time to “relax.” To “unwind.” To “clear my head.”
And then, past all that, there was this moment at the end of the sermon, when a friend of mine stepped up to talk to us about a ministry in our community that’s working with teenage moms. And as Keri spoke about her heart for the girls in our culture who are growing up believing that they have nothing to give outside of their bodies, who are giving every single possible part of their hearts and bodies away in hopes that someone will give something that looks like love back…I broke. As I stepped forward to take communion today, and heard Jen and Aaron telling me “This is the body of Christ, broken for you, Audra,” and “This is the blood of Christ, shed for you,” a harsh wave of reality hit me.
It hit me that these girls, the ones Keri was talking about, are in my life every single day of my life. Every day. And the amount of time I spend not engaging that opportunity was suddenly terrifying to me. The fact that I come to that church every single week, and I understand the reality that my heart was valuable enough for a King to die for, and I am too busy in my own world, too busy taking care of my own business, to even begin trying to share that with even one of the hundreds of girls in that school who are dying inside for someone to love them. Who would give everything to know that they are valuable and cherished and cared for and protective.
I am, above all things, self-serving and self-centered. And that reality broke me today.
God, save me from myself.